WWDC 23: Apple Unveils iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10 and macOS Sonoma

Apple kicked off their annual Worldwide Developer Conference with a keynote address revealing the updates coming to their platforms later this year. The company gave users a sneak preview of what we can expect from the upcoming OS upgrade. Here’s a rundown of the features and tweaks coming to from to the various platforms.

iOS 17
iOS 17 is now official. Apple announced the next major operating system for the iPhone, introducing a range of new communication and sharing features. iOS 17 will include a number of new features, including a new display mode for your nightstand, a journalling app, new safety features, more accurate auto-correct. redesigned contact cards, and live voicemail. And you’ll be able to drop the “hey” from “Hey Siri.” The new nightstand mode will make it easier to see the time and other important information at night, while the journalling app will help you keep track of your thoughts and experiences.

Apple is updating its contact book with a new feature called “posters.” Posters are flashy marquee-like images that will show up full-screen on the recipient’s iPhone when you call them. They use a similar design language to the redesigned lock screens, with bold typography and the ability to add Memoji. Posters will also work with third-party VoIP apps. In addition to posters, Apple is also adding a new live transcription feature for voicemail. Just like Google’s Call Screening feature, this feature will allow you to view a transcript of the message a caller is leaving in real time. You can choose to ignore the call or pick it up, and all of the transcription is handled on-device. Voicemail messages are now coming to FaceTime. This will allow you to leave a message for someone who is not currently available, even if they are not using FaceTime.

AirDrop is also getting an update, with the ability to send contact information just by bringing two iPhones near each other. Called NameDrop, the feature will enable you to send your selected email addresses and phone numbers (and your poster) just by bringing two iPhones near each other. It also works between an iPhone and an Apple Watch. Photos can be shared the same way, and if the file is a big one, it’s now possible to move out of range while continuing the download. With the same gesture, users can also share content or start SharePlay to listen to music, watch a movie, or play a game while in close proximity between iPhone devices. Messages will also be updated with a number of new features, including the ability to filter searches with additional terms, a feature that jumps to the most recent message so you can catch up more easily, transcriptions of voice messages, and a new feature called Check In that shares your live location and status with someone else.

iOS 17 includes new keyboard updates, including predictive typing and enhancements to auto-correct. Auto-correct is now more accurate and learns your favorite cuss words (about ducking time). There is also a new shortcut to revert to the original word you wrote if necessary. Additionally, dictation uses a new AI model, which makes it more accurate. A new app called Journal automatically suggests moments that you might want to commemorate in a journal entry. Your entries can include photos, music, and activities, and you can schedule reminders for yourself to start writing. Using on-device machine learning, personalized suggestions can be provided to help inspire a user’s journal entry. Suggestions are intelligently curated from recent activity, including photos, people, places, workouts, and more, making it easy to start a journal entry, and scheduled notifications can help build a journaling habit. With the ability to lock the app, the use of on-device processing, and end-to-end encryption, which means that only you can access your entries.

Another feature coming to iOS 17 is StandBy, which will be giving users a full-screen experience with glanceable information designed to be viewed from a distance when iPhone is on its side and charging. StandBy can be used on a nightstand, kitchen counter, or desk, and can be personalized to display a range of different clock styles, favorite photos, or widgets, including Smart Stacks, which surface the right widgets at the right time.

The developer beta of iOS 17 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com, and a public beta will be available next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available this later this year as a free software update for iPhone Xs and later. iOS 17 is compatible with these devices:
iPhone 14
iPhone 14 Plus
iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone 14 Pro Max
iPhone 13
iPhone 13 mini
iPhone 13 Pro
iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 12
iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone XS
iPhone XS Max
iPhone XR
iPhone SE
(2nd generation or later)

iPadOS 17
Apple previewed iPadOS 17. The new tablet software update is set to gain many of the same features of iOS 17, including a handful of new Messages features (like automatic voice note transcriptions), expanded AirDrop capabilities, and smarter auto-correct for text input. The iPad is also catching up to iOS with the ability to personalize the lock screen; which works much the same way that it does on the iPhone. Apple’s software VP Craig Federighi also showcased new interactive widgets that can be placed on the homescreen. iPadOS 17 will also bring over the Health app. iPadOS 17 uses machine learning to identify fields in a PDF so that users can quickly add details, such as names, addresses, and emails from Contacts. A big update to the Notes app gives users new ways to organize, read, annotate, and collaborate on PDFs. And last, the iPad will be able to display Live Activities just like iOS.

“iPadOS powers our most versatile device and enables users to do so many things on iPad, and now with iPadOS 17, we deliver an experience that’s even more personal and capable. With interactive widgets on the Lock Screen, updates to PDFs and Notes, as well as enhancements to Messages and FaceTime, iPadOS gives users even more ways to get things done easier and faster than ever.”

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

The developer beta of iPadOS 17 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com, and a public beta will be available to iPadOS users next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available later this year as a free software update for these devices:
iPad Pro (2nd generation and later)
iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
iPad (6th generation and later)
iPad mini (5th generation and later)

watchOS 10
For Apple Watch users, watchOS 10 offers a new approach to quickly view information with redesigned apps, a new Smart Stack to show relevant widgets right when they’re needed, and, of course, new watch faces. New metrics, Workout Views, and Bluetooth connectivity for power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors arrive for cyclists, while new Compass Waypoints and Maps capabilities further help hikers. The Mindfulness app offers additional tools to support mental health.

Apple Watch apps, including Weather, Stocks, Home, Maps, Messages, World Clock, and others, now utilize more of the Apple Watch display for more glanceable information. The Activity app on Apple Watch and the Fitness app on iPhone make tracking daily movement even easier. The Smart Stack contains widgets that display timely information that adapts to the user’s context and can be revealed with a simple turn of the Digital Crown from any watch face. On the Mindfulness app in watchOS 10, users can discreetly and conveniently log their momentary emotions and daily moods. Users can turn the Digital Crown to scroll through engaging, multidimensional shapes to choose how they are feeling. Other watchOS 10 updates include: NameDrop allows users to easily share contact information by bringing Apple Watch close to someone else’s iPhone. Apple Watch users can also use NameDrop by tapping the Share button in My Card in the Contacts app, or by tapping the My Card watch face complication, and then bringing Apple Watch face to face with someone else’s Apple Watch. Offline maps on iPhone provide access to turn-by-turn navigation, estimated time of arrival, places in Maps, and more while away from Wi-Fi or cellular services. These features can also be used on a paired Apple Watch that is in range of its companion iPhone. Users can now initiate playback of a FaceTime video message and view it directly on Apple Watch. Additionally, Group FaceTime audio is now supported on Apple Watch. The Medications app can send follow-up reminders if a medication hasn’t been logged 30 minutes after the scheduled time.

The developer beta of watchOS 10 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com, and a public beta will be available to users next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available later this year. watchOS 10 requires iPhone XS, iPhone XR or later with iOS 17 and one of the following Apple Watch models:
Apple Watch Series 4
Apple Watch Series 5
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch Series 8
Apple Watch Ultra

macOS Sonoma
Apple also previewed macOS 14, the latest desktop version of its operating system. It is officially named macOS Sonoma, named for California’s vineyard country. The latest macOS update includes these headline features: widgets on the desktop, a new game mode, and moving aerial screensavers. Users can now place widgets right on the desktop, interact with them with just a click, and through Continuity, access the extensive ecosystem of iPhone widgets on their Mac. And widgets become interactive, allowing users to check off reminders, play or pause media, access home controls, and perform various tasks from their Mac.
In macOS Sonoma, video conferencing also gets updated with new features to help users present remotely, like Presenter Overlay, which places a presenter on top of the content being shared, and Reactions, which enables gesture-triggered video effects in cinematic quality. The improved Screen Sharing picker simplifies the process of sharing apps during video calls. Users can simply click the green button in the top-left corner of an app and choose to share it in the call, allowing for easy content sharing from their currently open windows.
Significant updates come to Safari, including Private Browsing, which provides even greater protection during browsing both from trackers and from people who might have access to the user’s device. and profiles keeps browsing separate between multiple topics or projects, and web apps provide faster access to favorite sites.
macOS Sonoma also introduces Game Mode, which Apple says delivers an optimized gaming experience with smoother and more consistent frame rates, by ensuring games get the highest priority on the CPU and GPU. According to Apple, Game Mode also makes gaming on Mac even more immersive — dramatically lowering audio latency with AirPods, and significantly reducing input latency with popular game controllers like those for Xbox and PlayStation by doubling the Bluetooth sampling rate. Game Mode works with any game, including all of the recent and upcoming Mac games.
Additional updates include: Enhanced PDF functionality allows for quick form-filling with AutoFill, and smart recipient recommendations. Notes now displays PDFs and document scans in full width, and with linked notes, users can quickly connect related notes like recipes or homework. Users have the ability to simply say “Siri” to activate Siri. Users can now create a group to share a set of passwords. Everyone in a group can add and edit passwords to keep them up to date, and since sharing is through iCloud Keychain, it’s end-to-end encrypted. Additionally, the one-time verification codes received in Mail will now autofill in Safari, making it easy to securely log in without leaving the browser.

The developer beta of macOS Sonoma is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com, and a public beta will be available to users next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available later this year. macOS Sonoma is compatible with these devices:
iMac 2019 and later
Mac Pro 2019 and later
iMac Pro 2017
Mac Studio 2022 and later
MacBook Air 2018 and later
Mac mini 2018 and later
MacBook Pro 2018 and later

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